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Wales duo Jonathan Davies and Luke Charteris battling to be fit for France clash

Published 22/02/2016

Cory Allen, Wales
Cory Allen, Wales

Wales are waiting on the fitness of centre Jonathan Davies and lock Luke Charteris as they build towards Friday's RBS 6 Nations clash against fellow unbeaten title challengers France in Cardiff.

Davies was due to train with the Wales squad on Monday after missing his French club Clermont Auvergne's Top 14 appointment with Castres two days ago because of a groin problem.

Charteris, meanwhile, sat out Racing 92's thrilling victory at Grenoble due to knee trouble.

"He (Charteris) is continuing his rehab with the medics at this moment in time, and a decision will be made later on in the week," Wales assistant coach Rob Howley said.

"Jon is training this afternoon with us. Obviously, we will have to wait and see how he comes through that session.

"He is an experienced (British and Irish) Lions player, and it will be great news if he comes through the session."

Wales head coach Warren Gatland is due to name his starting line-up on Wednesday for Les Bleus' Principality Stadium visit.

Wasps forward Bradley Davies would be favourite to replace Charteris if he does not recover in time, while wing George North could be switched into midfield, should Davies miss out.

Another possible midfield option for Gatland appears to have been closed down, with Cardiff Blues' Cory Allen facing a scan after he was carried off during the Blues' 14-13 Guinness PRO12 defeat against Leinster on Saturday.

Howley added: "He is due to have x-rays and scans to determine the extent of the injury. We are hopeful it won't be as bad as first thought.

"It's unfortunately the nature of the weekend between Six Nations games. It's the same for every other country. It's a difficult time.

"You are hoping and praying that the players released don't get injuries. Unfortunately, with Cory, we have come up a little bit short."

Howley, meanwhile, delivered an upbeat fitness bulletin on fly-half Rhys Priestland, who suffered what Howley described as a "slight dead leg" during Bath's Aviva Premiership home defeat against Wasps.

"Rhys trained this morning. He was fine," Howley said.

"He had a slight dead leg, and it was non-contact (training) this morning and it will be again this afternoon. Hopefully, he will be able to train fully later on in the week."

Wales will go top of the Six Nations table if they beat France, and recent history suggests a home victory, given that Gatland's men have toppled Les Bleus four times in succession. Their last defeat against France came in the 2011 World Cup semi-final.

With former Toulouse boss Guy Noves now at the helm, France emerged victorious in their opening two Six Nations games this term against Italy and Ireland - albeit by a combined total of just three points - and Howley added: "I have huge respect for Guy Noves.

"Having played against Toulouse as a player, you can certainly see elements in their (France's) game where they are trying to be clinical and accurate in those wide channels.

"A key ingredient of international rugby is discipline. France are renowned for their dominant pack, but in the past three years in particular, we've gained more than parity in that area and been able to dictate the tempo of the game.

" But the key is discipline and not giving them anything to hit early on and not giving them any entries into our 22, where the strength of the French pack can determine what happens at scrum or driving lineout."

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